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Monday, August 5, 2013
Weekend wrap: SEC recruiting

By Derek Tyson

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The No. 2-ranked offensive tackle prospect in the country, David Sharpe (Jacksonville, Fla./Providence School), has always maintained that he wants to play football and basketball in college. For many two-sport athletes, it's a feat that is talked about but rarely followed through on.

As difficult as it might be, the 6-foot-8, 288-pound Sharpe said he would at least like to attempt to play both when he gets to college.

David Sharpe
David Sharpe is the No. 1 prospect in the state of Florida and the No. 2 offensive tackle in the ESPN 300.
"I just want to try it out one year and see how it goes," Sharpe said on Friday at a media event held at EverBank Field for local high school football teams. "If it's too hard for me, I'm going to just stick to football and work hard at football. If I can maintain and do it, then I'll try to do both in college."

Sharpe is planning to take unofficial visits to Alabama, North Carolina and possibly Florida in the near future and already knows of one official visit he will take.

"I know one official will be to USC, but I'm not sure of the other visits," he said. "I'm going to start to narrow it down soon, but I won't make a decision until later on in the process."

The No. 15-ranked prospect in the country said Florida, UNC, Clemson and Georgia have made him a recruiting priority.

"Florida is coming after me the hardest," Sharpe said. "They hit me up almost every other day. Just seeing how I'm doing and talking to me -- checking up on me and telling me how much they need me. Georgia, UNC and Clemson are recruiting pretty hard, too."

I'm looking for somewhere where I'm comfortable for those four years," he said. "I'm looking for great coaches and just somewhere where I fit in.

Sharpe's father, David Sharpe Sr., was also in attendance on Friday and said he just wants his son to be comfortable with whichever school he chooses.

"It's been a good experience for him and I'm just here to make sure he gets what he wants and that's to play both sports," the elder Sharpe said. "I have no problem with that. He can go wherever he wants to. I tell him to just be patient and take his time, and wherever he goes he has that home environment. Like they say in the Bible, it takes a village to raise a kid."

While the player won't tip his hand on his college decision, his father said there are a few schools standing out in his mind.

"I'd like not to say honestly," Sharpe Sr. said with a laugh, "but I like Georgia and Clemson. They are standing out pretty good right now to me, but I don't know about him."

Auburn adds talented RB Thomas

Maybe the biggest news of the weekend came on Friday afternoon when the fifth-ranked running back Racean "Roc" Thomas (Oxford, Ala./Oxford) committed to Auburn coach Gus Malzahn.

The commitment of Thomas comes a few weeks after Elite 11 MVP Sean White (Fort Lauderdale, Fla./University School) gave his pledge to the Tigers. White said in a text message that he is looking forward to playing with Thomas on the next level.

"I could not be happier! He's not only an unbelievable RB but a great kid and friend also. Can't wait to play with him," the text read.

Another Auburn commit, defensive end Raashed Kennion (Jacksonville, Fla./First Coast), said on Friday that once he committed to the Tigers, schools have backed off.

"All schools have pretty much stopped talking to me," Kennion said. "That's OK though, I know I want to go to Auburn, so that doesn't bother me at all."

Auburn's class is ranked No. 17 by RecruitingNation.

2015 Gamecocks commit explains his decision

ESPN Junior 300 linebacker Sherrod Pittman (Jacksonville, Fla./First Coast) committed to South Carolina just a few days after visiting Florida for its annual Friday Night Lights camp. His decision came as a surprise to some, but Pittman said it was the depth chart that ultimately led him to his decision.

"I liked Florida, but if I went there I would probably have to sit for one or two years before I could start," Pittman said. "But at South Carolina, I could probably see playing time right away."

Pittman, the 166th-ranked player in the county for the 2015 class, had this to say in a Vine clip:

new #SouthCarolina LB commit Sherrod Pittman has a message for #Gamecock fans...

— Derek Tyson (@DerekTysonESPN) August 2, 2013
Vols lose 4-star ATH

ESPN 300 athlete Brandon Powell (Deerfield Beach, Fla./Deerfield Beach) backed off his pledge to Tennessee on Saturday evening and quickly committed to the Miami Hurricanes. Powell said in a text message that he just wanted to do what was best for his family.

The Volunteers continue to hold the No. 2 spot in the RecruitingNation class rankings.

The Powell news came as a surprise to ESPN 300 linebacker and Tennessee pledge Dillon Bates, who said on Friday that the University of Tennessee sells itself.

"I've talked to David Sharpe and some of the other big recruits," Bates said. "I just try to get them to visit Tennessee, because once you visit Tennessee, you are pretty much locked in. There is no place that is better."

Powell seems to have disagreed.

Bessent doing some recruiting for the Tide

Alabama defensive back commit Kalvaraz Bessent (Kingsland, Ga./Camden County), like Kennion, said teams have backed off since he committed to the Crimson Tide. Bessent now tries to convince other local recruits to join him in Tuscaloosa.

"One of my friends, Kain Daub (Jacksonville, Fla./Sandalwood), I tried to holler at him about coming to Bama," Bessent said, "but he's already committed to Florida State, so I don't think he's going nowhere."

So how solid is Bessent to Alabama?

"I'm pretty committed," Bessent said. "I don't think I'm going to decommit or nothing like that as of right now. I'm pretty solid."

How solid is Knox's commitment to UF?

Four-star Florida offensive tackle commit Ben Knox (DeLand, Fla./DeLand) visited USF twice over the summer for a camp and an unofficial visit. Many assumed he was thinking hard about switching his pledge to the Bulls, but Knox said that is not the case.

"My commitment is solid," Knox said. "I went to USF and I really didn't like how they did things. I mean, it's a good program and I like how they are young and stuff, but I didn't like, at my position, how they do it."

Knox said he has been honest with Florida head coach Will Muschamp about visiting other schools.

"I told Muschamp before I went to USF that I was going there," Knox said. "He asked me if he had anything to worry about and I told him, 'No sir.' I'm still solid, but I want to take my five official visits. But I'm not sure where yet."

Franklin continues to recruit well

Vanderbilt continued to build on its 25th-ranked class by adding ESPN 300 safety Kyle Gibson (Seffner, Fla./Armwood) last Thursday. Gibson is the ninth-ranked safety in the country and will bring a physical presence to the Vandy secondary.

Gibson became the 18th commit for the Commodores, and all but two of Vandy's verbal commitments are ranked three stars or higher. If they continue on this pace, Vanderbilt has a chance to surpass last year's class, which finished as the No. 22 class in the country.